Our neighbors have a second (third? fourth?) home in Napa and Saturday was their annual Secret Garden Party. We just love this event. Our neighbors are a really nice couple, too, with kids our own age.
My childhood friend Bryan grew up in Orinda, on a compound comprised of his immediate family's house, his grandmother's house, and his aunt and uncle's house. The land between the houses was a big meadow, which is still there. For the longest time my favorite holiday was Bryan's birthday. His mom would have a huge family dinner and we'd sit outside. Bonnie has long stopped throwing her son family birthday dinners but I still think of those July nights with a big dumb smile on my face.
The Secret Garden Party reminds me of Bryan's birthday, and it's about the same time of year.
The house itself is sweet; our neighbor is a gifted interior designer and when you walk inside you are hit with the overwhelming urge to grab a book and curl up on a couch. The couple's Pacific Grove house was featured in Cottage Style a few years back. The wife's studio is in a separate building and there is also a garage and workshop on the property. This being Napa, there are the requisite vineyards with roses at the ends of the rows.
The Secret Garden is perhaps an acre, a maze of pathways and David Austin roses and lavender and flowers I can't name and trellises and statuary and fountains and stepping stones and vignettes of cornflower blue wooden furniture. It's a mindblowing explosion of color when in full bloom.
Elsewhere on the grounds are a vegetable garden with raised beds. There were beans growing up a trellis and a serious amount of tomato plants; let's hope our neighbor cans or knows people who do! There was corn and spinach and lettuce and raspberries, too.
The chicken coop looks like it was designed by an architect. I'm not kidding. Those hens have no idea how the rest of their brethren live.
There is a multi-level treehouse for the grandkids, a small play structure and also some swings on random trees around the property. We've gone to this party for three or four years and the number of people bringing their kids grows larger each year. This year there was a Ben and Jerry's ice cream kiosk for all to enjoy. The 30 or so children there went wild. The adults did, too. It's a good thing the kids had so much room to run around and burn off all that sugar.
It was a perfect 82F in Napa and we were sad to leave and make the 45-minute drive home. Really, I just wanted to put a blanket on the lawn and take a nap. It was that idyllic of an afternoon.
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